The Pirate Bay and Its Impact on the Internet

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Do you remember a time when the Internet was not that big yet and there were only a few sites that people went to? This was more than a decade ago and back then things such as mIRC and ICQ (chat relay services) were quite popular. In 2003, a file sharing site known as the Pirate Bay made its debut on the World Wide Web and the rest, as they say, is history. This was when file sharing and torrent downloading started to take bloom, and both of them have become staples of the Internet.

We all know that the Internet has a strong stand against piracy, and unfortunately for them one of the most popular sites on the web also happens to cater to “pirates.” Now while it might not actually be doing piracy directly, the Pirate Bay’s users are the ones who upload copyrighted content onto their servers. These files are converted into torrents and are downloaded with apps called torrent clients.

The Pirate Bay’s main purpose is to give users a place where they can share their files, so technically the site is not the one at fault. If the law enforcers really want to catch the true culprits, then they will have to find a way to arrest the thousands of users who upload their content on the site on a daily basis. So how much has the Pirate Bay impacted the Internet? For one thing, it has become synonymous with the term “free content” because that’s what its fans get from it.

If it were not for the Pirate Bay, then web users all over the world would not be able to enjoy the benefits of watching their favorite movies, playing their favorite games, and reading their favorite comic books for free. There are a ton of sites on the web that try to emulate the Pirate Bay in terms of what they do, but the torrents they produce will never be able to match the ones that the Pirate Bay has when it comes to quality. Isohunt, also known as “the Pirate Bay copy site”, is a good example of this.

The Pirate Bay has become so popular that even the world’s governments have been trying for years to get rid of it for good. In fact, the UK has already imposed a ban on the site, but users have still found a way to get access to Pirate Bay through the use of Pirate Bay reverse proxies. These proxies hide a user’s IP address so they can browse websites like the Pirate Bay without being detected.

So it is pretty safe to say that the Pirate Bay has become somewhat of a cultural icon of the digital age.

Natasha Vaughan – A retired bank manager who found joy and happiness in the world of Internet.

the Pirate Bay copy site,
access to Pirate Bay

Listen to Abe – Stop SOPA and PIPA
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Image by DonkeyHotey
"The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man’s right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in case of conflict, the man before the dollar." – Abraham Lincoln

In this case you might define Republican as "An advocate of a republic, a form of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is generally associated with the rule of law."

My point in using this quote is to highlight the fact that SOPA, PIPA, the DMCA and related laws are supporting the rights of property holders over the rights of speech and liberty. Very few people defend piracy , but it is not just to throw out due process of law to save a corporation some imaginary profits.

Do you want to share a relevant quote? Please do so in comments below.

Read the entire letter from Lincoln in the New York Times
Another Letter from Mr. Lincoln.; HIS VIEWS OF THE POLITICAL DOCTRINES ADVOCATED BY JEFFERSON.

THE WEB GOES ON STRIKE! Read All About It!

NOTE: After experiencing the day of protest about SOPA/PIP it is clear that the action could better be called a Web Blackout rather than a Strike.

TAKE ACTION! Google has a form.

NOTE: I decided to change to this current quote after I determined that the quote that I was using probably erroneous. That quote is: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

Related Internet Piracy Articles

How Internet Piracy Affects You

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By now, you should know that copying and distributing any copyrighted material is illegal and is called piracy. You should also know that having any of these pirated materials in your possession is also illegal. While there are some differences in the types of piracy, the end of the line is that it is illegal and you could be charged and even face jail time for downloading, burning, copying, selling or owning pirated materials.

Pirated materials are rife throughout the world, but especially in the Far East and Eastern Europe. It is easy to get a hold of these pirated versions of popular (and expensive) software; however, the costs can be many.

Not only may you find yourself with hefty fines for using and owning pirated material, you may also have problems with your computer. Many pirated software packages come complete with viruses that can tear down the foundation of your computer. The cost to repair damages done by some viruses can be incredible – rendering your computer useless in some cases and much data lost.

Internet piracy also affects the base cost of the product. The more that people steal the programs, the higher the cost of the programs in retail – companies are out to make a profit and if the guy down the street sells pirated versions of software, the company has to increase their price.

There are several types of software piracy, and these include:

End-user: a user copies software without the appropriate license. This can be as easy as purchasing one copy of software and using it on multiple computers in a business or home setting.

Pre-installed software: a manufacturer uses one copy of software and uses it on more than one computer that they are selling. Watch out when you purchase a new computer that the software comes with the appropriate license documentation stating that the software you have is licensed properly.

Internet: downloading copies of software through the Internet. If you are downloading material, ensure that the publisher of the software has authorized the distribution. There is quite a bit of “free ware” and “share ware” out there on the net, but be cautious that you aren’t downloading from a third party who does not have the right to offer these downloads.

Counterfeit: Illegal copies of software are made and then distributed in packages that are similar reproductions of the manufacturer packaging.

Online auction: There are several forms of online auction piracy, such as selling software that is labelled NFR (not for resale) or OEM software that is not authorized for sale by a third party.

Remember the rule of thumb: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you have found a “sale” on software that seems too good to be true, chances are its pirated and illegal.

Pirated copies of software, including downloaded movies, music and more, affect everyone. These illegal copies are not “showing the companies” – it’s making everything more expensive at the retail level and copying these discs will become increasingly more difficult, to the point where we may not be able to afford them at all in any way shape or form (and thusly, if pirated, no newer versions will be released).

Mark Warner is a Legal Research Analyst for RealDealDocs.com. RealDealDocs gives you insider access to millions of legal documents drafted by the top law firms in the US. Search over 10 million Documents, Clauses, and Legal Agreements for Free at http://www.RealDealDocs.com

2012-03-17 – 001-007 – HDR
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Image by vmax137
Update 2015-07-11: CitiesXL isn’t for me but Cities Skylines by Colossal Order and published by Paradox Interactive is the spiritual successor to Simcity 4.

A view of South Lake Union and Queen Anne Hill after inspired by the official announcement that SimCity 5 has been under development with a February 2013 release date. This is one of those games that I would get without a second thought if it weren’t for the number of questionable incidents involving Electronic Arts’ Origin content delivery system. That aside SimCity 5 will feature curved roads, zoning, and a rigid-body dynamics physics engine. After almost a decade of waiting it’s great to see the continuation of a classic game series.

SimCity Announce Trailer Insider’s Look :
www.youtube.com/watch?v=T70evBJE93s&feature=player_em…
SimCity 5 developers Q&A on Reddit:
www.reddit.com/r/SimCity/comments/qp15f/maxis_iama_in_eas…

Update:
Even though a robust multi-player SimCity is something a lot of people wanted, the game series was always single player-centric where mobile users with no internet connection can play anytime. Additionally Electronic Arts is well-known for shutting down game servers after a few years rendering games to become partially functional or not at all. SimCity 4 was released in 2003 and I and many others up until the last few years have been playing it on and off. It’s unrealistic to expect companies to run servers indefinitely to begin with so gamers as well as fans have good reasons to believe that SimCity 5’s lifespan will be significantly less than its predecessors.
kotaku.com/5971235/cloud-computing-is-why-the-new-simcity…

Update – 2013-03-08:
It’s almost a year later and SimCity 5 has been released. From what I’ve seen the game discourages exploration by not allowing loading from an earlier save point which limits the educational aspect and fun in a sandbox simulator. I can see a hardcore game mode where decisions are permanent so emotional connections with cities are stronger, but this ain’t Fire Emblem. SC5 also traded scale for detail. It’s not the game that I wanted but parts of it looks like serious fun. Unfortunately just about everyone who’s not playing are on a SimCity Disaster Watch.

Maxis and Electronic Arts still make great games but EA as a publisher and distributor has the dubious distinction of being responsible for the worst roll-out in gaming history so far. An EA Korea Facebook manager’s accusation of piracy in Asian countries as a factor of server outages is a reminder that CEO or intern, anyone in a position dealing with the public are required to do their homework on the products and services they’re representing.

I still play Diablo 3 and while it’s annoying when servers are down I bought into the constant connection because I play public games often and sometimes the auction house can be played as a separate game in of itself. SimCity 5 offers regional play which is great but in single player mode the lack of reverting to a previous save and a saved city can only be loaded from their associated server aren’t compelling enough to require a constant internet connection.

While most people don’t care the digital rights management or DRM issue is a real and major reason for the constant internet connection, but not the only one. The elimination of the secondary used-games market and planned obsolescence by shutting down servers and forcing people to move to the next game iteration are also business strategies being tested.

EA has decided to give out a free game as an apology which is nice. But eating the transaction costs and giving a full refund to those who paid for a SC5 license would have been nicer, and a SC5 single player offline mode would have been the best solution. Voting with your wallet by itself is ineffective since it can be misinterpreted or even be invisible. There has to be communication, sometimes very emotional communication before large organizations can be motivated to change their course of action. I do feel bad for many of the developers and other creatives that worked hard on SC5 and hope their future projects will avoid everything that’s happening here.

Update – 2013-03-20:
Pretty much everything that’s happened so far:

kotaku.com/5991077/your-complete-guide-to-the-simcity-dis…

SC5 has been mostly stabilized so people are busy trying to break it to see its inner workings. Obviously all simulations require a certain amount of abstraction but investigations revealed that the simulation itself is broken where sims take the shortest path regardless of traffic and go to the first home or work they see each day. The reasons given for the constant internet connection were found to be less than truthful as well.

Partly because of this and various other reasons, EA’s CEO has been sacrificed and Origin is holding a gamer appreciation sale for PR damage control. Large publicly traded corporations are beholden to its investors and EA can’t revert back to when Trip Hawkins first founded it to help game developers so a change in culture can’t be expected to occur overnight. Still, there’s a lot of companies that don’t have the financial strength to ride out a bad Costa Concordia PR disaster so maybe this will deter them from making similar decisions.

SC5 is a great looking game but I can’t and won’t even pirate it. Security or ethical issues aside there’s no reason to because my limited game time and finances should be used to support good games, with the occasional sale. I’ll approach the next SimCity with a skeptical but still open mind though. Keep the art and audio assets, allow online as optional, fix the simulation engine and I just might be there.

kotaku.com/5989893/if-simcity-was-a-noir-film

The Fast Paced Development Of Technology And The Challenges This Presents To The Legal System

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The process of law making is notoriously long and drawn out, with Bills taking months or even years to pass into to law. In the realms of computer crime, where technology develops apace, this sometimes means that the law is left flagging dangerously behind.

An area where law particularly struggles to keep up with technology is in the prevention of breach of copyright by illegal distribution of intellectual property via the internet. For example, copyright law has struggled to keep up with the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing technology, so that downloading music illegally (‘digital piracy’) has become a commonplace activity for as many as seven million internet users in Britain. In January 2009, The Times newspaper reported that the government’s latest plans to combat internet pirates failed when a consensus could not be found between internet service providers (ISPs) and the music industry as to how to deal with them.

A key problem is where to draw the line between a teenager who downloads a handful of songs from their bedroom, and a server owner who uploads and distributes tens of thousands of pirated tracks and pieces of software. This may sound simple, but with hard drive capacity and internet bandwidth increasing all the time, the average teenager in their bedroom could easily possess thousands of illegal tracks without considering themselves a criminal. So by the time the lines are drawn, technology has moved on.

Another issue yet to be ironed out by the legal system is one of culpability. For example, in the case of illegal file sharing, it is not clear who should be prosecuted: the person who downloads the file, the person who uploads it to the internet, or indeed the software provider or internet service provider (ISP) who facilitated the transfer. In 2008, Britain’s six largest ISPs sent out warning letters to file sharers, but as this was not followed up by prosecutions, its effectiveness as a deterrent were minimal.

As computer criminals become more adept at covering their tracks, policing computer crime has also become increasingly difficult. Many crimes are now committed in the digital world and so there are often no physical leads available for the police to follow. This is where computer forensics comes in. Computer forensics is the analysis of electronic devices in order to produce legal evidence of a crime or unauthorised action. When a person is suspected of committing a crime, computer forensic analysts can scour the suspect’s computer for evidence such as deleted files, internet browsing histories or chat logs.

In response to the need for such investigations, the Association of Chief Police Officers has put guidelines in place to ensure that good practice is adhered to when collecting digital information for the purpose of law enforcement. The ACPO guidelines require computer evidence to be collected by qualified experts who keep an auditable trail of all work done. If this is not adhered to, any evidence recovered may be deemed inadmissible.

As technology progresses, it is likely that guidelines for the recovery of computer based evidence will need to be continually revisited to ensure they remain up-to-date, but there can be little doubt that computer forensics will play a key role in assisting the legal system in its race to keep up with the lightning pace of technological development.

IntaForensics a BS EN ISO 9001:2000 registered firm providing Computer Forensics, Expert Witness, Mobile Phone Forensics, and Forensic Data Recovery to the Legal Sector, Police Forces, Local Authorities and Commercial organisations internationally. Visit Computer Forensics for further information.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet on Vimeo by Fight for the Future
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Image by jackieflynt
Tell Congress not to censor the internet NOW! – www.fightforthefuture.org/pipa

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity". The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites– they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement."

The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us million tax dollars a year — that’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

Watch this video on Vimeo. Video created by Fight for the Future.